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J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park

J.T. Cheeseman is a Natural Environment Park located approximately 15km east of Channel-Port aux Basques and 200km west of Corner Brook on the Trans Canada Highway. This is a popular park with visitors from all over Canada and the United States.

Please note this map is for illustrative purposes only. The park boundary may not be accurately portrayed.

Natural History

Situated on the Cape Ray barrens, J.T. Cheeseman has an exciting variety of natural features, ranging from bogs to rolling, forested hills. The park has an assortment of floral species. The yellow clintonia, violet Bog Aster, Bunchberry, Pearly Everlasting, Sheep Laurel, and Newfoundland's Provincial flower, the Pitcher Plant, may all be found at the park. Pine, Fir, Larch (or Juniper, as known by locals) and Mountain Ash surround the park's campsites. Watch for the White Admiral and Atlantis Fritillary butterflies, mink, rabbits and moose on your nature walks. If you are a bird watcher J.T. Cheeseman is an ideal stop. The Common Loon, Murre, Pine Grosbeak, Sparrow, and the Canada Goose are just some of the species you may see.

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Park Activities

Camping

Cheeseman Park has 92 campsites, each with its own picnic table, fireplace, garbage can and vehicle space. Water taps and pit toilets are conveniently located throughout the park. A new comfort station was built in this park in 2003 and offers visitors shower and laundry facilities. Cheeseman also has facilities for the handicapped, including 3 sites designed for easy access with cement runways and accessible picnic tables. Accessible pit toilets and water taps area also provided.

Picnicking

The picnic, or day-use area is located past the campground. Each site provides picnickers with a table, fireplace and garbage can, and water taps and toilets are located nearby.

Hiking

Smokey Cape Walking/Fitness Trail begins in the day-use area and ends at the beach parking lot. Completed in 1984, the trail has nine fitness stations near its entrance, designed to test your physical strength amidst the park's natural beauty. Beyond the stations the trail encompasses rocky hillsides and several viewpoints for your enjoyment. The trail is 2km, and is named for the windblown surf at its exit, creating a "smokey" effect.

Swimming

Among the best in Newfoundland, Cape Ray Beach is one of J.T. Cheeseman's most spectacular and fascinating features, It is a long, sandy barachois, located at the end of the park road.

Change houses are provided and water safety equipment is easily located. CAUTION must be exercised: The area is unsupervised.

Aside from enjoying swimming and sun tanning, take time to explore this exciting beach. Perhaps you may find some of the following seashells:

  • GREEN SEA URCHIN (Strongylocentrotus droebachiensis)
    Able to grow to 7.5cm, live sea urchins are covered in spines for protection. Despite their prickly covering, however, they are eaten by cod and other fish, and on land by foxes, seabirds and people.
  • DOGWINKLE (Thais Lapillus)
    Varying in shape, this shell has an average height of 3cm. The Dogwinkle prey on other molluscs like Blue Mussels, and its colour reflects its diet. American Indians used to use the purple dye its secretes to colour clothing and many other things.
  • SURF CLAM (Spinsula solidissima)
    The most common clam shell on beaches south of Cape Cod, the surf Clam can grow to about 20cm. With its semi-smooth, yellowish surface, it is in the group of clams contributing to over 70% of the United States clam crop.
  • BLUE MUSSEL (Mytilus edulis)
    This smooth shelled mussel with a glassy bluish exterior and violet blue interior can grow to 10cm. Abundant along the Atlantic seashore, mussels cling to intertidal rocks and pilings. They are a favourite of North American and European fish lovers.

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Area History

J.T. Cheeseman Provincial Park first opened to the public in 1960. Much of the park and the area surrounding it is rich in cultural history. The park is named after a local politician John Cheeseman who entered public life in 1919 at the age of 27. The land on which the park has been developed was originally farmland owned by Emmanuel Pearce. On the western side of the park is Barachois Point, or Osmond Point as it is known to locals. Until 1960, the Osmond family fished and farmed this area. From several places in the park you may view Table Mountain, once an operational base for the United States Air Force. Fourteen men lived at the top of Table Mountain and remains of their barracks and buildings may still be found.

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